By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton Gonsalves, is insisting that all 49 clubs that participated in the 2019/2020 domestic season will receive all funds due to them in due course.
His declaration comes on the heels of fresh debate over a decision to release only EC $8,000 of the US $500,000 already received by the ABFA from FIFA for Covid-19 relief.
“Every single cent of the Covid relief funds that are due to them will be paid in due course and at the right time. The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association does not make knee jerk reactions, we follow not only the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law,” he said.
“All the matters are hinged on one salient point, which the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association is saying in resumption of training and the resumption of or the restart of the football season. I can guarantee you, you heard it from the authority’s mouth that every single cent that is due and payable to clubs in accordance with these requirements, every single entity due their monies will get every single cent,” he added.
News that the St Kitts and Nevis Football Association has allocated US $58,900 in payments to national team players to aid in their return to training, sparked fresh debate over whether or not the ABFA should make a larger portion of the funds here available to clubs and players.
Gonsalves, a former national striker, however, reminded that the funds are to be used for the return of football and will be disbursed at the appropriate time.
“We are a responsible Antigua and Barbuda Football Association and I believe my good friend Daryll Matthew is a responsible Minister of Sports and he has said there will be no football because the risks are too great. He has not even allowed cricket, he has not even allowed football to resume training or to resume competitions because his heart is in the right place just like where the ABFA is,” the former player.
“Not withstanding that we haven’t resumed training or we can’t restart competitions, we are giving the clubs money that are hinged on these salient requirements. You are getting $8,000 even though football has not restarted and training has not been resumed,” he added.
Gonsalves insisted that his executive will continue to operate in a prudent manner as the health and wellbeing of all citizens, footballers included, remain the top priority.
“I know the detractors want to say all sorts of things, they want to raise up all kinds of issues, but this administration prides itself in doing things the right way and health remains our priority, and as soon as we get the green light from our good government and from our Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health, the funds will be flowing into the coffers of all these dear member clubs,” he said. The ABFA is yet to commence with the disbursement of funds but according to the president, this should start in short order. All clubs that would have competed in the 2019/2020 domestic season are eligible for the first tranche of funding.